I AM Back at WelBeck

Dear reader,
I am pleased to refer you to the august pages of 1904 for the next bit on our divine one.

Author of 1904, george snyder, does a bang up job of telling this chapter in the tales of ottoline - evangelist-woodworker.( Linked in this text)
How we do grapple when in search of ourselves.

(scene above from the BBC's Downton Abbey, links to 1904 in BOLD LETTERS)

mother & religion

 Ottoline in 1889

The closeness of mother and daughter could not be denied:
'The words of Ruth and Naomi were our mutual chant...The devotion to my mother, at whose shrine I worshiped with so much passion and tenderness and pity, had only one rival a passionate love of religion. How the seed of this tree began to grow in me I cannot tell- ' The wind bloweth where it listeth.'

 Ottoline in 1889

For Ottoline religion became obsession when given The Imitation of Christ by Tomas a Kempis:

'Every thought word, action and motive ws subjected to its fierce, burning light, none was kept back or hidden. My young being was scrutinized, scourged and mercilessly pruned: all desire for food must be constrained, pleasant books put away, everything soft and pleasing renounced. '(1889-1890)

Failed attempts to whisk Ottoline into the London season by her beautiful sister in law-the Duchess of Portland, were followed by the suggestion that Ottoline and her mother travel to Italy. (1892)

The Duchess of Portland, 1912.
by Philip de László

'What  a frightful ordeal it was!.. I must have had some dances, for I know I was led out into a highly decorated sitting-out room... and taken to a basket chair by a young man. A feeling of intense shame overcame me. I felt degraded... I remember... a feeling of utter desolation, shyness and loneliness, for I felt myself quite apart from the smart world, and conscious of being out of it...The lovely scent of gardenias and stephanotis and white lilies is the only happy memory I have left... Great timidity bound up my spirit and my ideas.'
The trip to Italy was marred by Ottoline's contracting typhoid fever. Ottoline's mother had to be "wheeled along in an invalid chair," The entourage,along with the ladies, included a Virginia nightingale and two pugs. Though Ottoline's mother's health was slowly deteriorating it didn't stop her from pausing in Paris to shop for Ottoline:

'On our way through Paris my mother had insisted on buying me some very lovely muslin dresses, and for some reason this had greatly upset me; also it was there that she bought for me a row of pearls at the sale of the French crown jewels; she liked to feel that I should wear a row of pearls that had been round the neck of Marie Antoinette. These gifts gave me acute pain... in my distress they seemed a mockery.'

 OTTOLINE would be photographed many times wearing these pearls in 1903.

Two months after returning to London- Ottoline's mother, Lady Bolsover died.
Rarely leaving her side, Ottoline would write over twenty years later:

'Here in my hands again lies this long tress of my mother's hair; raven black and silver shining, and silken and soft, and still with the perfume of almonds that it always had. It has still upon it the tender love that it was touched with twenty years ago. I keep and touch it again and again, with the same undying passionate love.'

IF you were the only girl

OTT from 1917, at the NPG, here.

"If You Were the Only Girl In the World" was a song written by Nat D. Ayer-music, with lyrics by Clifford Grey & made famous in the musical revue The Bing Boys Are Here. The sentimental song had to be bittersweet in wake of the ongoing first World War & the losses suffered by a war weary nation. The original stars of  the show-George Robey, playing Lucius Bing, and Violet Loraine, playing Emma, debuted the song on April 19th 1916 at the premiere in The Alhambra, Leicester Square, London. Ottoline was completely enchanted with their performances and carried away with the song.  While in Ireland at a pub, she sang "If You Were the Only Girl In the World"when asked to contribute a tune of her own after applauding a number of Irish folk songs sung by regulars there.

"If You Were the Only Girl In the World"
Sometimes when I feel low
and things look blue
I wish a boy I had... say one like you.
Someone within my heart to build a throne
Someone who'd never part, to call my own
If you were the only girl(ie) in the world
and I were the only boy
Nothing else would matter in the world today
We could go on loving in the same old way
A garden of Eden just made for two
With nothing to mar our joy
I would say such wonderful things to you
There would be such wonderful things to do
If you were the only girl(ie) in the world
and I were the only boy.


Portrait by Roger Fry from the NPG here

-that these two had a love affair is just one more of the things that make up OTTOLINE- another is that these two connected so deeply on a spiritual level.
For Ottoline it was more than physical-for "Bertie" it was ALL-body and soul.

  Picnic in the Woods 
Ottoline center & Bertrand  right
from the NPG, 1915, here

photograph by Ottoline Morrell, from the NPG, 1915, here.

 This is the prologue to the Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, written on 25 July 1956 in his own hand. The text follows: 

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a deep ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.   I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy -- ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness -- that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it, finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what -- at last -- I have found.With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved. Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a hated burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.   This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me. 
Archive Box Number: Black Display Binder
Having been jailed , in 192 - Ottoline took the reins of Bertie's incarceration- She organized for his current amour Colette to visit on alternate days from herself. Always bringing,

links For This Posting:
Nobel Prize.org here
The Bertrand Russell Society here
The Bertrand Russell Gallery here
 Miranda Seymour Ottoline's biographer here

oh darlings, You missed my birthday

born June 16th, 1873

portrait by de Meyer, 1907

presents?  No, NO, No!

unless you've just written a book-then do sign a copy and send it. perfect!
or painted some scene of great beauty -sign it- to be sure and send that. perfect!
otherwise, just a belated wish will do. -OTT

Woman in Love

Lady Ottoline Morrell- George Charles Beresford
platinotype on photographer's grey card, 4 June 1903,4 1/4 in. x 5 5/8 in. (107 mm x 144 mm) image size
Purchased with help from the Friends of the National Libraries and the Dame Helen Gardner Bequest, 2003,NPG x144140

"now she came along, with her head held up.balancing an enormous flat hat of pale yellow velvet, on which were streaks of ostrich feathers, natural and grey. She drifted forward as if scarcely conscious, her long blanched face lifted up, not to see the world. She was rich. She wore a dress of silky, frail velvet, of pale yellow colour, and she carried a lot of small rose-coloured cyclamens. Her Shoes and stockings were brownish grey, like the feathers on her hat, her hair was heavy, she drifted along with a peculiar fixity of the hips, a strange unwilling motion... She was a woman of the new school, full of intellectuality, and heavy, nerve-worn with consciousness. She was passionately interested in reform, her soul was given up to the public cause. But she was a man's woman, it was the manly world that held her."    
- dh lawrence, from women in love

Ottoline by George Charles Beresford
platinum print on photographer's card mount, 4 June 19035 7/8 in. x 4 1/4 in. (147 mm x 107 mm)
Purchased with help from the Friends of the National Libraries and the Dame Helen Gardner Bequest, 2003

Yes, he -her great friend-had characterized her. she admired him and he was fascinated with her- especially her lineage, her wealth-as he saw it and her- as a woman. The Woman was not pleased. Other authors-her friends- would write about her. She was a character in many ways to them- irresistible as a player in their stories, novels.She was unique, an Original and she was a woman-less DH Lawrence's making  & more her own.

Ottoline's portraits can be found at the NPG, here

Ottolinisms: Billy

There are infinite stories, remembrances from Ottoline's contemporaries and from her own memoirs, diaries, letters & photograph that give US a  vivid portrait of  her "life in full." Her memoirs were edited by a great friend- Robert Gathorne Hardy.  In The Early Memoirs of Ottoline Morrell his introduction is full of "Ottolinisms" and  it is a pure delight to read. Many of the things here at Ottoline Divine will be glimpses from her circle of friends , giving US that portrait we desire of this most uncommon female in an indulgently & effortlessly-for the sheer enjoyment.

His remembrances are at one moment of the lionizing sort and at the next turn we are given a razor sharp slant on the Lady's character.
Was she malicious he asks? What he concludes is -Yes, can't we all be so? Any accusations that she was- are quelled by the woman's charm  & in the testimony he gives of these moments.

This particularly struck me as amusing and very human.

from Roberth Gathorne Hardy's introduction:

ottoline with her dog of choice- the pug.
from her photographic albums, captioned "O" in her distinctive hand
from the NPG here.

... a guest, whom I will call billy was leaving in the phaeton.

'Good-bye,billy,' she cried, waving her hand, as it moved towards the corner which would take it out of sight;

'good-bye dear billy!', waving still and calling always a little more shrilly as the distance increased:

'good-bye, billy; come again',

and then, as the phaeton vanished, Like an old pug, isn't he?'